“You know what today is don’t you?” an obvious trick question from my wife to start the day.
“Of course I know what day it is. I have been waiting for this day to come for months. I have been eagerly planning every move I would make this day so it is the most memorable day of the year,” I said confidently. “I mean we’ve only been waiting 133 days 15 hours 14 minutes and 34 seconds for this. Position players for the Arizona Diamondbacks report to Spring Training!”
From the somewhat puzzled look on her face I could tell that she had forgotten it was such a monumental day in our lives. The long dark winter was over, the players were back in town and soon the air would be filled with the sounds of baseballs hitting a mitt, the crack of the bat, and the smells of fresh cut grass. Just the thoughts of these things had my heart racing. How in the world could she have forgotten something as important as this? Before I could even utter a syllable of how disappointed I was that she had forgotten this special day she said, “today is Valentine’s Day.”
Wait, what? What kind of idiot would schedule Valentine’s Day to be the same day as position players reporting to Spring Training? In the back of my mind I was already formulating a nasty email to the Hallmark Corporation. I was pretty sure they were behind this fiasco with their little greeting card and calendar monopoly filling women’s heads with hearts and cupids instead of fastballs and sliders.
In the midst of my thought process about what I was going to say to Mr. Hallmark I sort of space out and quit listening to my wife. Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence as I am reminded almost daily. I tuned in long enough to hear a few key phrases such as “if you loved me”, “think about the Diamondbacks”, “second to baseball”, “other wives”, and “powdered raccoons”. Ok I am not exactly sure I heard “powdered raccoons” but I wasn’t about to ask for clarification on that one.
Clearly I was going to need to regroup faster than Adam Eaton chasing down a fly ball in center field if I was going to make a shoestring catch saving the game, I mean holiday. I made some excuse about needing to go find an outlet for “powdered raccoon”, grabbed my hat and rushed for the garage door.
Ok so what could I possibly do to redeem myself and show my wife that I really had not forgotten it was Valentine’s Day? My first thought was a personalized Willie Bloomquist World Baseball Classic Team USA jersey. I mean seriously what says I love you quite like bold “USA” across your chest and Bloomquist on the back? In fact, what would be even better would be matching jerseys for both of us. Yeah, now that would be sweet. A call down to the Team Shop made me realize my idea was too good. They did not have matching Team USA jerseys and in fact the woman on the phone seemed a little confused like I was the only one who would even consider such an amazing gift idea.
My next thought was Spring Training tickets. What woman would not want a pair of Spring Training tickets to Salt River Fields to see the Diamondbacks take on anybody? It was a brilliant idea until I remembered my wife’s final words as I left the house, “I’m really hoping this is the one year my gift is not baseball related.” I honestly thought she was joking. I mean you can’t be serious right? Still, I’m not sure I was willing to chance it.
Thinking of non-baseball related gifts is kind of a stretch for me. Ok, let’s be honest that’s pretty much the farthest thing from my mind. After all, I’m the guy that got his wife a silky nightgown with the Diamondbacks logo on it for her anniversary. No really, it was pretty much the coolest thing ever until one of the kids ruined it asking if that was so mom could be more gritty.
I’ve seen enough jewelry commercials that I had to consider going to Jared and trying to pick up one of those Pandora “red hot love beads” but the colors weren’t anything near Sedona Red so I had to pass.
No, I needed to stick with something more traditional, flowers and candy. Not just any flowers and candy though. I decided I would get a dozen, no make that two dozen roses and a box of chocolates like Forrest Gump had at that bus stop (see not every movie I watch has baseball in it although it would have been better if Forrest would have been an outfielder than a football player or go to China to play in the World Baseball Classic instead of playing ping pong).
I was now on a quest to find Sedona Red roses. It’s Valentine’s Day. You would think that finding Sedona Red roses would be pretty easy but surprisingly it’s not. I must have gone to 10 floral shops explaining to the cashiers that I needed a dozen roses that matched my sweat stained Diamondbacks away hat and a dozen roses that matched the Sonoran Sand outline of the “D” logo on the front. Seriously you would think I was the first guy to ever ask this the way they stared at me.
When the Diamondbacks changed their color scheme from Purple, Teal, and Copper they said it was because the colors were too hard to match on television. I can honestly say that Sedona Red is not that much more common at least in the floral industry. In the end I bought two bouquets of flowers that if you turn the lights off and squint kind of look like Sonoran Sand and Sedona Red. Hopefully my wife won’t notice they aren’t an exact match.
I added a box of chocolates that have a Sedona Red wrapper (again if you turn off the lights and squint the colors match). All I needed was a card and I had the second most perfect Valentine’s Day gift a husband could give his wife (I still say the matching WBC Team USA personalized jerseys would have been the perfect gift). Looking down the card aisle I was obviously not the only husband that thought today was Spring Training position players report day. That place was packed.
I surveyed the rack of picked over cards and did not find even one that had a baseball on the front or even a Diamondbacks logo on the envelope. I made a mental note to send a letter to Major League Baseball merchandising to suggest they may have missed an opportunity. I ended up with a Sedona Red card with a rose on it. No, not a Pete Rose, I wasn’t that stupid. Besides, I think Pete Rose is ineligible to be featured on a Valentine’s Card as a result of him betting on baseball.
I didn’t really read the verse; I was kind of in a hurry. I just checked to make sure the writing was in English (learned my lesson after last year’s card was in Spanish and neither one of us speak that language). I grabbed a pen and wrote the most romantic thing I could think of, “I would gladly share my season tickets with you for any game including the World Series. Love, your husband – Number nine on your program number one in your heart.” Wow, it almost made me cry. Yeah I am pretty sure I aced this holiday thing.